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Research and Statistics

Millennials most likely to pay their card balances in full, study shows

Young adults are often criticized for their credit habits, but older generations don’t always compare favorably


With the media lens focused so relentlessly on millennials, they’ve become an easy target, with numerous surveys spotlighting their financial shortcomings. But there’s also ample data on the flip side: A new study shows millennials are the best at paying their card balances in full.

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With the media lens focused so relentlessly on millennials, they’ve become an easy target, with numerous surveys spotlighting their financial shortcomings. But there’s also ample data on the flip side, painting a more nuanced portrait of this generation that is still learning the personal finance ropes.

Such a juxtaposition of millennial characteristics exists within TD Bank’s latest Consumer Index Spending report. Take for instance the finding that half of millennial Americans (50 percent) utilize more than 30 percent of their available credit, exceeding the recommended threshold. That’s in contrast to just 37 percent of Generation X adults and 20 percent of baby boomers who use that much.

But what about when the bill comes due? It turns out millennials are the most likely of the three generations to pay their balance in full, with only about a third of them carrying it over month to month (32 percent). That’s substantially less than among Gen Xers, more than half of whom reported carrying their balance (51 percent).

See related:  Millennials think money management classes should be mandatory

Conflicting behaviors also showed up in the data surrounding credit card rewards. Almost one in four millennials (39 percent) said they’ll sometimes pay for a group outing so as to earn rewards with their credit card. Only 30 percent of Generation X and 14 percent of boomers said the same.

But redeeming those earned rewards was a different story, with a full 30 percent of millennials saying they had let rewards expire. That’s about double the rate of Gen X respondents (14 percent) and triple the baby boomer percentage (9 percent).

TD Bank’s study was conducted online by MARU/Matchbox in two waves of about 1,000 U.S. adults each, the first occurring in March 2017 and the second in August 2018. Results were weighted to be nationally representative by age, gender and region, with findings released March 12.

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: September 23rd, 2020
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